The most incredible thing! I almost can't believe it! We are one of the Grand Prize winners of the Petfinder World's Best Pet Parent Photo Contest!
That means the rescue will receive $10,000! At the very start of this contest, we pledged to share any prize money with a few other animal welfare groups and now it looks like we've all won!
$1,000 will go to Animals Ilan Rescue, a small grassroots rescue effort in Taiwan. Seven came from this group. Abbie, my contact with the group, whom I have never met in person but feel like I know, is one of the most dedicated rescuers I've coordinated with.
$1,000 will go towards the medical care of any dogs needing it at Lake County Animal Shelter. We have pulled a few dogs from this shelter, and Marnette and Sara there have always been so devoted in getting each dog to safety.
$2,000 will go towards the medical care of some lucky pits rescued by an incredible man named Tyler Nasise in San Diego, CA. I first heard of Tyler last year when he saved a pit puppy named Smokey who suffered from acid burns so terrible that he not only required surgery but had to wear a tshirt for 7 months to protect his skin. I was in awe of Tyler then, but since then, he's gone on to rescue several other pits with severe medical issues. He chronicles each dog's journey on Facebook, so check him out if you have a FB account: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100000137453553&ref=ts
Aside from the prize money, this contest was important to me because it was an opportunity to share a glimpse of Popeye's journey with a wider audience. As you can imagine, the sight of a 2-legged dog garners a lot of attention. I remember one time, we took him to a crowded beach in San Francisco. One woman came up to me and said that her dog had had cancer in one of his legs. Rather than amputate, because she thought a dog could not live happily without all 4 legs, she had him euthanized because she believed it was the kinder thing to do. She said that if she had seen Popeye before that, she would have known differently.
It was a sad story. I think that if people could just see Popeye, they'll come to realize the capacity that pets have to live life to the fullest, despite having a bit of a handicap, and maybe more less-than-perfect animals (and what is "perfect" anyway?) will be given the opportunity to do just that.
Kudos to Petfinder for turning this into a win-win situation for everybody involved. I didn't think it was possible for them to come up with a solution that would make everybody happy, but they did it. I'm glad that Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue also received the grand prize and that the other finalists will have another chance to win. We're all on the same team ultimately, with the same purpose, and our rescue is no more or less deserving than any other rescue.
A big big BIG thank you to everybody who voted! Popeye had supporters not just across the country but as far as Guatemala, Brazil, and Tawain. I am almost, but not quite, speechless and want to express my utmost appreciation to everyone who participated. That includes Tyler P, my "Bub," for taking the winning photo, helping to write up the 500-character essay (it's harder than you think!), and maybe most importantly, for listening to me blather on about the contest almost nonstop since it started. I know he's grateful that the contest has ended early for us so that he doesn't have to spend another 38 days listening to that.
And to think, we almost didn't enter because we didn't think we'd have a chance of winning. The power of teamwork and the inspiration of a spunky 2-legged dog named Popeye.
Cheers to all the "World's Best Pet Parents" out there! We've been fortunate enough to know so many!